Yokozuna Hakuho improves to 5-0 at Summer Basho


Yokozuna Hakuho maintained his share of the lead at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament with an easy win on Thursday and a perfect record after five days.

Hakuho slipped past winless No. 3 maegashira Daieisho on the charge, grabbed the right side of his belt and threw him in one fluid motion. The Mongolian grand champion remains tied for the lead with sekiwake Tochinoshin and No. 4 maegashira Shodai.

Yokozuna Kakuryu (4-1), who slipped up the day before and suffered his first loss at the 15-day event at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, got back on track. However, the yokozuna, who has been a powerhouse this year after an injury-plagued 2017, looked less than convincing.

Kakuryu, looking to win back-to-back championships for the first time in his career, got the better of No. 2 maegashira Abi (1-4), but was unable to finish the 24-year-old off. The match ended when Abi, under pressure, slipped to the sandy surface and down to defeat.

Ichinojo, wrestling as a sekiwake for the first time since July 2015, started the day at 4-0, but suffered his first loss, beaten in an entertaining bout by popular komusubi Endo.

Endo rebounded off the mountainous Mongolian on his opening charge, dove in for a second helping and got a coveted underarm belt hold. The 225-kg Ichinojo, however, used his 73-kg advantage to keep his feet despite being forced back to the straw.

Ichinojo seized a belt hold and countered, but his failure to throw Endo gave the sekiwake an opening and he took advantage, forcing the komusubi from the ring.

Tochinoshin followed his sekiwake partner to the ring and used his long arms and impressive upper body strength to hold off 204-kg Brazilian Kaisei. The Georgian forced Kaisei to the straw and levered him out to a fifth defeat.

Shodai, who wrestled as a sekiwake in January 2017, is looking to regain some traction in his career. Shodai absorbed his opponent’s charge, and got both arms under those of the No. 6 maegashira. Shodai locked up Chiyoshoma’s torso and steered him out.

On Friday, Shodai will aim for his sixth straight win but will need to get past Kaisei for the first time. He is 0-5 in five previous career bouts against him.

Goeido, the sole ozeki competing here following the withdrawal of Takayasu, was headed for a slapping stalemate with Yutakayama (0-5), but a well-timed lunge spun the surprised No. 3 maegashira around and he was easily shoved out.

Yokozuna Hakuho improves to 5-0 at Summer Basho
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